Before you walk into Molly Priest's 6th grade classroom at Eisenhower Middle School, you will see a wall full of words: smart, sweet, fun, and amazing are just a few of them. They show what she means to her students.
"The wall means a lot," said Priest.
But see the hugs she receives in between classes and you will see what her students mean to her.
A former Eisenhower student herself, she has spent years inside this building. None of those years have been like this year though.
"I was diagnosed before the school year started in August with stage 1 breast cancer," Priest said. "I've had several surgeries, gone through chemo, lost my hair."
According to Priest this has been the toughest year of her life. As challenging of a year as it has been, it's been made easier by the support of her students.
Priest said, "I told the kids they're the reason why I want to go to work and why I got through chemotherapy so easily. I genuinely think it's because of this job."
It's support she has shown to students while teaching at Eisenhower.
6th grader, Diana Medina said, "If I do ever need something I can just go to her, she's like my mom at school."
A lot of learning goes on in Mrs. Priest's classroom, but the lessons learned outside of the book this year are what really sticks with her.
"Cancer was not a negative for me," said Priest. "I mean it was tough but I learned a lot from it. I appreciate everyday. You always hear that but now I really do."
An appreciation for life, for work and especially for her students.
"Without these kids I would not have gotten through this year. I saw the best of what the world has to offer."